Surviving the Tropics with Arctic Boy

I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while now and this morning finally cinched my decision. I’m changing Mr. J’s name to Arctic Boy.

One of the things that Arctic Boy has missed about living in the U.S. is going snow-caving in the winter. Snow-caving, for those of you who might not know, is where you pile a bunch of Jet-Puffed Marshmallow kids into a big SUV along with 2 sleeping bags, 4 pairs of socks, an extra pair of jeans, an extra shirt, extra underwear, a pair of gloves, a hat, a scarf, a tarp and an extra blanket, and 5 chocolate bars (because you told them to bring dinner – don’t worry, they won’t melt). Each. You also take a hope/delusion/fantasy that all the kids will have the good sense to wear boots. It doesn’t always happen. Even though you told them to.

Upon arriving at the “campsite”, which is just a mountain covered with what you hope is lots of deep snow, the Jet-Puffed Marshmallow kids all pile out and start tromping around trying to claim the best spot. After locations have been settled, the shovels are divvied out and they set to work digging out a sort of coffin shape in the snow (yes, it does have a bit of Addams’ Family feel to it). They all figure out a way to get a roof on their caves and you hear lots of jokes about not eating yellow snow and maybe a few about making it. Pretty soon everyone’s jeans are soaked to the waist, shoes, boots and socks are also beginning to re-freeze and the kids all huddle together eating their “dinner”.

It’s way past dark by now and so you tell everyone to change into dry clothes and crawl into their sleeping bags in their caves so they will be warm. Yes, they will be warm. If they have dry clothes and a tarp under their sleeping bag. This is when you discover that one of the kids doesn’t have any extra socks, and another one thought there would be a fire to dry his pants by (even though you told them there would be no fire). You finally get everyone settled and about an hour-and-a-half later a semi-frozen boy comes to you (the intrepid leader who doesn’t actually need sleep) with teeth chattering and tells you that his one sleeping bag is wet through because he didn’t bring a tarp to put under it and didn’t think he’d actually need two sleeping bags because he’d heard how warm snow caves were. (Deep breath) You gently explain while silently screaming/laughing hysterically, that sleeping bags and snow caves are only warm as long as you are dry and that’s why you need two bags and the extra clothes. You get him settled in the SUV along with some extra wool blankets you decided to throw in the back, just-in-case, leave him huddling with all his dry clothes, coat, hat, socks and the blanket and go back to bed. In the morning everyone goes sledding, nearly breaks a limb and has a grand time. Then you all pile back in the SUV and drive to for a hot breakfast.

Yes, Arctic Boy loves this. Of course these events are usually organized by one of his parents so we make certain he has everything he needs. (Although, there was the one year he forgot his coat. Didn’t really slow him down much, he just went to bed a little early.) When he can’t go snow caving, he’s been known to go to the neighbors yards and steal snow from them so he can build a pile big enough for him to make into a cave and sleep in it. It lacks a little of the ambiance, but he really likes the cold and the coolness factor.

This morning I walked into his room to discover the air conditioner on. It was set at 19 or 20 degrees Celsius. That’s about 66 degrees Fahrenheit. It really hasn’t been that hot here lately. At night the outside temperature drops to about 15 degrees C. (that’s 60 degrees F). I huddle under a blanket, Arctic Boy turns on the A/C unit.

He says he wants to live in Alaska someday. I think he should, at least for a while.

winner-winner, chicken dinner 🙂

P.S. The “one of his parents” organizing these things is usually Mr. Hot Stuff, aka, Intrepid Boy Scout Leader. I just sit home and laugh at the aftermath.

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